The Washington Post

Amazon suspended

- BY TONY ROMM AND RACHEL LERMAN tony.romm@washpost.com rachel.lerman@washpost.com Drew Harwell and Craig Timberg contribute­d to this report.

the pro-trump social network Parler from its Web-hosting service after its users glorified the Capitol riot.

Amazon suspended the proTrump social network Parler from its Web-hosting service over the weekend, a move that threatens to darken the site indefinite­ly after its users glorified the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The e-commerce and Web-hosting giant said Parler had violated its terms of service given its inadequate content-moderation practices, adding in a letter that it would implement its punishment just before midnight Pacific time Monday.

The move by Amazon Web Services, or AWS, marks the latest and most crippling blow for the pro-trump social network, which has emerged as a haven for conservati­ve users who have fled more mainstream Silicon Valley sites that crack down on harmful, viral falsehoods online. Earlier, Apple and Google removed Parler’s app from their stores for smartphone downloads, similarly citing concerns that posts on Parler could contribute to violence.

Amazon did not immediatel­y respond to a request for comment. A person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that AWS had communicat­ed its suspension to Parler on Saturday. (Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Parler also did not respond to a request for comment. But its chief executive, John Matze, said in a post on his site that the social network soon could be “unavailabl­e on the Internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch.” On Sunday, Matze said during an interview on Fox News that the move threatens to put the company out of business.

“This could destroy anybody,” he said, adding later that the company is scrambling to find hundreds of servers before Amazon’s deadline. “It’s an impossible feat that we’re going to handle as best we can to get back online as quickly as possible.”

Troubling the tech giants, Parler users were praising the mob that put the Capitol on lockdown last week, threatenin­g a potential “war.” The pro-trump attorney L. Lin Wood, meanwhile, at one point urged Trump-supporting “patriots” on Parler to keep fighting, saying: “Almighty God is with you. TODAY IS OUR DAY.”

Parler’s approach to content moderation has mostly been hands-off. The social network generally acts using a “community jury” system, allowing trained volunteers to vote on posts to determine whether they violate the site’s rules. Otherwise, Parler’s guidelines promise that it will keep removals to an “absolute minimum,” in the spirit of letting users govern themselves, except in cases where there is an “an explicit or implicit encouragem­ent to use violence” or illegal activity.

On Saturday, Matze blasted tech giants for engaging in a “coordinate­d effort” designed to “inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies,” referring to Twitter’s recent decision to permanentl­y suspend Trump out of concern that his tweets threatened to stir violence during the inaugurati­on of President-elect Joe Biden.

Such suspension­s can incapacita­te a website: The extremist forum 8chan, which became a haven for white supremacis­ts, disappeare­d from the Internet for weeks in 2019 after hosting companies rejected it.

The Parler suspension was first reported by Buzzfeed News.

 ?? OLIVIER DOULIERY/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES ?? Users of Parler, whose content moderation is lax, were praising the mob that stormed the Capitol.
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES Users of Parler, whose content moderation is lax, were praising the mob that stormed the Capitol.

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